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Latest “Progress Report:” Immigration Reform Integral to Economic Recovery

by Jacquelyn Mahendra on 01/12/2010 at 5:27pm

The crew over at Think Progress devote today’s “Progress Report” to the economics of immigration reform, stating:

President Obama’s current focus is, understandably, “jobs, jobs, jobs.” However, Hinojosa’s findings show that the issues of immigration and the economy are far from mutually exclusive. While anti-immigrant groups use anecdotal evidence to erroneously claim that legalization would be disastrous for the American worker, passing comprehensive immigration reform would not only strengthen the labor market, it would promote needed economic growth. Polling released yesterday additionally shows that 66 percent of voters support a program that requires undocumented immigrants to register, meet certain requirements, and become legal taxpayers on their way to becoming full U.S. citizens.

They dig deeper into a recent study by University of California at Los Angeles professor Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, which “showed that comprehensive immigration reform with a path to legalization for the nation’s undocumented immigrants could generate a cumulative $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) over 10 years.” 

In addition, they cite recent research that together demonstrates the vast economic benefits of immigration reform, as well as the impact it would have on all workers. Among these:

  • The libertarian Cato Institute recently found that legalizing undocumented immigrants and creating future legal channels could increase household income by about $180 billion in the 10th year, or a welfare gain of 1.27 percent. (The recent Hinojosa study reached a similar conclusion: $189 billion).

  • Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimated that the 2006 reform would have generated $66 billion in new revenue from taxes and fees, over a 10-year period.

  • A study by Giovanni Peri, Associate Professor of Economics at the University of California-Davis, further illustrated that immigrants “complement” the native-born workforce, boosting the productivity and wages of native-born workers.

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